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A Discourse of the Grounds and Reasons of the Christian Religion.

COLLINS Anthony (1724)

£800.00 

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In Two Parts: The first containing some Considerations on the Quotations made from the Old in the New Testament, and particularly on the Prophecies cited from the former and said to be fulfill'd in the latter. The second containing an Examination of the Scheme advanc'd by Mr. Whiston in his Essay towards restoring the true Text of the Old Testament, and for vindicating the Citations thence made in the New Testament. To which is prefix'd an Apology for free debate and liberty of writing.8vo. lxii, [8], 285, [1 (blank)]pp. Fine copy in contemporary panelled calf, plain spine.London:

ESTC records three printings in the same year. In this copy on the title "Christian" is spelt correctly and the 15th line ends with "the" and p. lxii is numbered correctly and there is an errata leaf.

The "free thinker" and deist Collins "subjected the argument from prophecy, widely relied on to demonstrate the truth of Christianity, to painstaking scrutiny. The truth of Christianity would be demonstrated, he argued, only if Jesus Christ could be shown to be the Messiah prophesied by the Old Testament. But, he claimed, the Old Testament Messiah was a temporal not a spiritual figure; furthermore the Old Testament prophecies were not uniquely and literally fulfilled in Jesus. Although William Whiston had explained this mismatch between the Old and New Testaments by arguing that scriptural texts had been corrupted with the object of undermining Christianity, Collins masterfully set the rival accounts against each other. Following the Dutch scholar Grotius, he accepted that even the most defensible text supported only typical fulfilment of the prophecies by Jesus, and then only by extended analogy. Thus, working from premises granted by others in the classic sceptical manner, Collins accepted both that the text was suspect and that its most defensible interpretation fell short of the proof required." - ODNB.

Provenance: Earls of Macclesfield, Shirburn Castle, Oxfordshire, with South Library bookplate and blind stamp on the title.

Stock Code: 215837